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24 Jun 2019 Community

Community shines bright at Midnight Memory Walk

A record number of walkers descended on the University of Huddersfield on Saturday night to take part in Kirkwood's annual Midnight Memory Walk. The event raised a record shattering £148,796 to support our vital work across Kirklees.

Late on Saturday evening, 1,410 walkers turned the streets of Huddersfield into a sea of green as they helped Kirkwood Hospice smash last year’s fundraising total at their flagship annual event.

The Midnight Memory Walk, which was sponsored F&G Commercials Ltd. and Syngenta, saw families, friends and strangers coming together to share special memories as they made their way around a six or 10 miles route.

As well as raising vital funds for Kirkwood, the Midnight Memory Walk brought the whole community together for an unforgettable night of fun, laughter and tears.

This year, a spectacular fire breathing show, close up magic and live music helped to entertain the crowds, who got their early to soak up the electric atmosphere.

A Fire Breather wows the crowd. (Image: Mark Flynn)

 

As the clock ticked toward midnight, Sharon Green, a specialist nurse in our Community Palliative Care team, thanked the walkers for their amazing efforts.

“As part of the team at Kirkwood, I see the difference we make every day for patients and their families affected by life limiting illnesses.” said Sharon.

“The service we provide wouldn’t be possible without the support of people like you, so a very big thank you.”

Simon Sharp from Holmfirth walked for the first time this year with his three sons, Jacob, Cameron, and William and their chocolate Labrador, Ruby. The family laced up in memory of their beloved wife and mum, Adele, who was cared for by Kirkwood.

Adele, who worked as a diabetic nurse, was cared for at the Hospice for 13 days last summer. She died on the 27th August 2018, aged just 49.

“As soon as we walked through the Hospice doors, we felt a huge weight lifted from our shoulders” said Simon. “It was peaceful and we were met by staff with smiles on their faces.

“No matter what, Kirkwood is a part of our lives now and we will always support the Hospice”

“It is so important to support local charities like Kirkwood. You can see first-hand where the money goes.”

Simon Sharp (far right) pictured with family and friends before the walk got underway.

 

After an energetic warm up routine which got walkers rocking, the 1,400 plus crowd made their way toward the start line. Confetti cannons pierced the night air as midnight struck, sending a plume of multi-coloured tickertape skyward as the walkers streamed under an illuminated archway and out into the warm night air.

Walkers set off on the Midnight Memory Walk.(Images: Mark Flynn)

 

Sarah Greene has taken part in the walk for the last five years. This year she walked through the night to say thank you to Kirkwood for the care her sister, Sheena West, is currently receiving.

Sheena is being cared for on Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit and was able to meet her family outside the Hospice as the walk made its way past the Dalton site.

Sarah Greene, Sheena West, Alfie West and Ella Hopkin-Greene pictured outside the Hospice as the walk went by.

 

Sheena said: “It’s a privilege to be a part of this and be out here. My son, Alfie, is staying with me at the Hospice tonight and it’s amazing he’s able to be a part of this journey with me. I wanted to look out and see it all, I’m proud of everyone taking part.

“Everyone at Kirkwood is so kind and generous; it’s a real team effort here. Being a part of this journey has spurred me on and has really helped boost my recovery.”

Ellie Sykes and her sister, Nicky Bell, from Netherton, were taking part for the first time. They walked with friends in memory of their nana, Sheila Stephens, who was cared for by Kirkwood six years ago after suffering from organ failure.

Sisters and friends: Nicky Bell, Ellie Sykes, Carly Thornton, Lorna Thornton and Joe Wink-Simmonds

 

“The walk has been on my bucket list for years. I’ve always wanted to do it, so I have roped my sister and friends in this year.” said Ellie.

Ellie, who works as a district nurse, is also aware of Kirkwood through her role, which was another reason she decided to take part.

“I work for Locala as a district nurse and we look after a lot of palliative patients locally so I use Kirkwood’s services a lot. I am always ringing Kirkwood for advice. It’s a 24 hour service and it provides a real support for me in my role.”

Walkers celebrate completing the 2019 Midnight Memory Walk outside the University of Huddersfield's Oastler building. (Image: Mark Flynn)

 

Event organiser Kathryn Box was delighted to be part of another record breaking event at Kirkwood.

“It’s wonderful to see so many people coming together for this year’s Midnight Memory Walk.” said Kathryn.

“Kirkwood touches so many lives in local communities across Kirklees and the Midnight Memory Walk is a unique event, giving us all the chance to come together to celebrate special memories and walk together as one community.

“Thank you to everyone who has stayed up late to take part tonight. Their amazing generosity means we can continue to provide the very best care for anyone affected by any life limiting illness, whenever they need us.

Kirkwood would like to thank main event sponsors F&G Commercial Ltd. and Syngenta and the University of Huddersfield for hosting the event.

Kirkwood would also like to thank West Yorkshire 4x4 Volunteers, Kirkwood’s volunteers, Shepley Spring, ASDA Dewsbury, Longley Farm, Starbucks on Leeds Road, Marks and Spencer’s Simply Food at Waterloo, First Plus Medical, Sainsbury’s at Shorehead, Streetwise Traffic Management, Kirklees Council, FMG, Haigh’s Farm, The Pulse, Matthew Algie, Tugo, Birstwhistles, CJ Milk, Coultons, Bidfood, George Shaw and Sons, Perrys, Pastiche, DF Fitton Magic, PP Marrons, Rowley Lane School, event photographer Mark Flynn and videographer Ken Wilson.

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